One of my favorite parts of college athletics was having the opportunity to learn from the best mental strength coach! Everything he said stuck with me and made me want to learn more about mental strength and overcoming mental blocks. Even now I love working with some of my gymnasts who have mental blocks and helping them to overcome it. Although I am no psychologist or performance specialist, I have seen these things work not only for me but for other people as well!
The first step in overcoming mental blocks is having a CAN DO MINDSET. Confidence is the most critical psychological characteristic. On the other hand, self-doubt is the greatest source of interference. Self-doubt will come if you don't have confidence. So what is the solution? For every negative thought that comes into your head think of three positives. Fill your mind with positive affirmations so there is no room for the self-doubt to interfere. I have found this to be HUGE! Whether in my gymnastics career, with the girls I coach, in my day to day training, and even in life! Self-doubt WILL come if you are not confident and positive.
Some of the positive things I like to tell myself when trying to overcome a mental block are "You can do this!", "Stay strong!", and "Keep going!". Most of my mental blocks nowadays come when I am running. I can push through strength workouts, but running is a weakness of mine and oftentimes I stop my run due to a mental block rather than physical limitations. I have noticed a huge difference in my runs when I use positive thoughts rather than letting self-doubt take over my head.
The second step in overcoming mental blocks is to have a PURPOSE- you have to know what you want. Set a specific goal for yourself that is just within your reach. If it is too hard you will give up, but if it is too easy you won't push yourself. You have to know exactly what you want in order to push yourself to get there.
The third step to overcoming mental blocks is to FULLY COMMIT. You have to make it yours and think for yourself. When you fully commit there will be no one to blame but yourself. Get your mind in the right place. Fully committing will help you to hold yourself accountable for whatever you are trying to accomplish.
Do what you want to do so that you don't care what other people think. Don't focus on having to do something...do it because you want to and the pressure goes away.
I know I have talked about how exercise is so much more mental than it is physical. Well here is a fact for you...there are five attributes of high performance. The number one attribute is self- motivation/commitment (THE MENTAL PART!) which accounts for 76%. The FOURTH attribute is athletic ability which only accounts for 5%! 5%!!! That is it!!! That shows you how important being mentally strong is! If you can convince your mind to do it, your body will do it!
You guys... I could go on and on about mental strength (because I love it so much) but I am going to call it good for today! haha
*Concepts from this post came from what I learned from my mental strength coach, Craig Manning. If you would like to know more about him and what he teaches you can get his book The Fearless Mind <-- It totally helped with mental strength and sports performance!*